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Interpreting the Results of the 2016 Agency Workforce Report with Susan Baier

Think you understand the Millennials in your agency? You might be surprised. Think you know what motivates your employees? You might be surprised. Think you know what your best employees want and need from you? You know the answer – they just might surprise you. Here’s the good news – we can give you a very healthy glimpse into the concerns, wants and needs of your team. This past summer, AMI partnered with my podcast guest Susan Baier and her team at Audience Audit to talk to almost 1,000 agency employees about their work. The result was the 2016 Agency Workforce Report. We set out to find the answers to the questions above as well as many others. A lot of what we think we know about our agency employees flies in the face of their truth. So we kept digging to discover what they value, what motivates them and what they want more of down the road. In this podcast, we walk you through the data and provide you with a snapshot of the results. If you want to get to know your employees and learn what you can do to motivate and keep them, this podcast should be illuminating. Come dig into the results with Susan and me:     Our 2016 Agency Workforce Report What made our 2016 research different from other research projects we’ve done in the past How we crunched our data The three types of agency employees that we found in our research: agency advocates, prosperity partners, and “Millennial Mindset” (and why the majority of Millennials don’t fall in the “Millennial Mindset” group) What your agency can do to have less “Millennial Mindset” employees than average Why the opportunity to [...]

By |February 24th, 2017|

How to Embrace Change as a Small Business Owner in Today’s World

The only constant in life is change, and man, does that apply to our world and agency life. The truth is – it’s not going to suddenly get easier, slower or less jarring.  If anything, it’s just going to get a little quicker. So buckle up. I have been in a unique position, because of my work with hundreds of agencies, to see these changes firsthand and want to share with you where I think our industry is headed. Our customers today aren’t just looking for someone to manage an ad campaign or make a media buy, they are looking for partners. Strategic partners who get business. While most of the “stuff” that we create can be commoditized, what makes us different and what can’t be commoditized is our ability to think strategically. The game has changed and agencies that are able to successfully partner with their customers beyond marketing and delve into the sales and customer service arenas are the ones that are succeeding. Learn how your agency can embrace change and succeed in these arenas by answering: Why the speed of change is the new normal and why you have to embrace that How what agencies sell has changed from the Mad Men days to today Why you need to tie marketing, sales, and customer service together to be a great agency today Why data analysis is more important than it ever has been Leads, sales, and retention: why you need to focus on these at a much higher level if you want to keep charging a premium price The importance of making real time decisions and adapting based on data Why we need to work with clients who may be resistant to [...]

By |October 28th, 2016|

Solving Business Challenges by Understanding the Rapidly-Changing Global Landscape with Greg Verdino

“We are used to thinking about change in an incremental fashion when in reality, change is happening at an exponential rate.” So says my podcast guest Greg Verdino and he should know. He’s been at the forefront of most of the changes in our industry and is one of the best at solving business challenges that arise from an ever-changing global landscape. From the beginnings of social media (when he was one of only 23 bloggers out there) to today’s blur between the physical and digital, Greg knows about the changes that are happening and more important, what is coming next.   Greg and his wife Amanda (Verdino & Co.) are a small niche agency that focuses solely on content. They are constantly evolving and staying a step ahead of their clients and their client’s needs so that they can continue to be of value to their clients. We had a great conversation on how agencies can see the forest for the trees and discover: What has changed since the beginning days of when agencies began to do social Why content needs to expand past “content marketing” and must be infused into every single interaction inside and outside your organization How to help clients understand the value of content Solving the business challenges that arise from a changing landscape The importance of analytics and content metrics that Greg uses with clients Why Greg and his wife decided to go it on their own instead of taking positions inside other agencies How Greg differentiates his agency from other agencies How Greg has been able to recognize trends that matter and ignore the ones that fade Tips and tricks for getting everything done that you want as [...]

By |October 14th, 2016|

How to Be a Great Podcast Guest & the Value of Being on a Podcast with Tom Schwab

Podcasting has been around for a while but it is really becoming very mainstream. It’s a wonderfully effective way to connect with your audience on a personal level in a format that has gotten very easy to access and consume. There’s nothing wrong with blogging or creating video content but podcasts are so easy – people can learn from them while they commute to work, walk on a treadmill or listen while they multitask at home. If you aren’t ready to start your own podcast, the next best thing is learning how to be a great podcast guest on someone else’s show. My guest, Tom Schwab helps business leaders, authors and other professionals get invited to appear on podcasts that align with their business goals. Tom believes that every business leader can be coached so they’re a rock star guest. As he says, “what's ordinary to you is amazing to others.” Tom and I dig into the nuts and bolts of podcasting with: Why podcasting is so relevant today How to be a great podcast guest on someone else’s show The benefit of being a podcast guest How Tom’s clients are able to sell being on podcasts to their own clients Benefits of podcasting over other forms of content Why podcast traffic converts higher than blogs Message, market, and machine: what you need to have a successful podcast interview What you (or your clients) need to be a great podcast guest Why you need to bring a giveaway when you are a guest on a podcast What not to do when you are a guest on a podcast Is it appropriate to suggest questions to your podcast host? How Tom helps agencies look good The [...]

By |September 30th, 2016|

Positioning Your Agency as a Thought Leader Using Niche Blog Posts with Michael Gass

“We’re a full service integrated marketing agency. We partner with our clients.”   Sound familiar? Is this how you describe and position your agency? Hopefully not if you want to attract the best clients for your agency. Generalist agencies don’t fare as well as specialists. AMI research shows that CMOs want specialists. They want their agency to understand the unique challenges of their industry so they can understand their specific problems and can help them get to where they want to go. They want an agency with a laser focus on their industry and their unique challenges.      My podcast guest Michael Gass has perfected that laser focus on positioning your agency. Michael develops marketing strategies designed specifically for agency new business. Part of that laser focus includes niche blogging. This is just one of the strategies that has been key in driving new business to the agencies that he has worked with. If you think you know niche blogging, think again. Michael and I drill down to the specifics on this and other strategies by:   Generating new business through niche blogs Positioning your agency as a thought leader Making these niche blogs truly niche (hint: “healthcare” is not a niche) Why these blogs need to be written by one or two visible authors The pace these blogs have to be written, at least initially Why you should start out with just one niche blog Why a person should be the face of only one blog How to keep this process running smoothly and consistently Why agencies have to add consulting as a service line The differences agency websites and niche blogs have to have The time commitment this kind of program requires The [...]

By |July 29th, 2016|

The Biggest Challenges Agencies Face Today with Michael Farmer

Running or owning an agency is not easy. And it seems that these agency problems and challenges are getting tougher to face every year. Many agencies are watching their workloads grow while their fees and profits seem frozen in time. My podcast guest Michael Farmer has been tracking the evolution of agency work for the past 25 years. He says that the challenges of modern agency owners can largely be traced to the industry turning a blind eye to the issues of scope creep while at the same time, not evolving their fees or payment structures. While this issue can seem overwhelming, Michael has a proven model that will show you how to get a handle on your scope creep and a way to figure out the appropriate charges for that work. Michael and I will walk you through it all as well as: Some of the big problems and challenges agencies face today Why the future is bright for small to mid-sized independent agencies Why your agency needs a uniform approach for working with clients and an example of what that looks like The documented scope of work document: what should this look like? Why it’s harder than ever for agencies to make money Michael’s “price for the work” metric Creating accountability with client heads Why agencies probably will have an easier time fixing scope of work than they think What agencies can do right now to start fixing some of these mistakes Michael Farmer grew up in the Midwest and was the first child in his family to go to college. He went to Princeton on an NROTC scholarship and worked at various jobs to pay the difference. After that, he spent 5 years [...]

By |July 22nd, 2016|

Developing A Content Marketing Strategy that Actually Works with Joe Pulizzi

Strategy. Consistency. Focus. These are the key elements of content marketing strategy success in today’s content marketing world, according to my podcast guest, Joe Pulizzi. Joe is the founder of Content Marketing Institute and it’s cornerstone event Content Marketing World so he’s been teaching and living content for a long time. Today’s agencies have to figure out the content game. You need to know when your client needs to create content, how to make it sticky and relevant and how to do it profitably. The winning content formula of strategy + consistency + focus is what it takes to build an audience and that is where the value lies - in getting, keeping and maintaining an audience. Content for content’s sake is just more noise.   Joe and I help you to put this content strategy puzzle together by showing you: What agencies and clients need to do to develop a content marketing strategy that actually succeeds Why you need to focus on your email list more than people you are connected with on social media How agencies can leverage their own content better Why you need to focus on content in specific platforms over trying to be everywhere What differentiates the agencies that do content marketing extremely well Old school deliverables that still work today Why you need a content marketing mission statement Why the editing process is a crucial part of content marketing The ways smart agencies get smart enough to create valuable content Things agencies can do right now to get the content marketing techniques discussed in this episode rolling Joe’s events Joe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes [...]

By |June 27th, 2016|

Today’s Agency Employees Crisis and What to Do About It

New business is on the upswing, you’re experiencing shorter sales cycles, and your business is growing by leaps and bounds. All of that is great. But you’re still facing a crisis. An agency employee crisis. There just aren’t enough qualified people to fill the spots needed to service all that business. Or maybe you have just enough employees right now but you are seeing other agencies lose staff to corporate clients and media groups and are fearful that you might be next.    It’s time to take a breath and discover all the reasons that your agency employees want to stay with you and how you can attract more of the same. Your employees have lots of reasons they like agency work and you just might be surprised at the number one reason they offer for wanting to stay. Believe it or not, it’s not about the money.    Find out my take on the current agency employee situation as I detail out:   The agency employees shortage: why it’s happening right now What agency employees want most (and how to use this to attract and retain them) Things that will cause employees to leave The best benefits you can offer to attract and retain employees How you can compete with the corporate world for employees Why you need to be actively looking for employees, even if you don’t need them right now Drew McLellan is the Top Dog at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency over the last 20-years. And all through the year, he straddles the fence of working in his agency and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies in a variety of ways. He works [...]

By |June 6th, 2016|

Looking Ahead into the Future of Business for Agencies

As agency leaders, we’re as good as our last idea. So we’re always on the lookout for fresh thinking and emerging trends to take to our clients. But how do we do that in today’s overloaded information age where there is never enough time and so many other distractions? And how can we look into the future of business as it relates to the agency space? “Open your eyes, get out of your comfort zone, and learn about the world around you.” These are the words of wisdom from my podcast guest, Rohit Bhargava.   Rohit is a non-obvious trend curator and an expert in helping brands and leaders be more influential. He helps agencies re-think their role when it comes to what they're supposed to be doing for their customers. In his mind, it all comes down to understanding a customer's true business need, rather than what they think they’re asking for. It’s looking around, being curious and finding the non-obvious in the everyday.    Some highlights of our conversation include: Working as a solopreneur vs. working in an agency Rohit’s trend report that started as a blog post Habits for being a trend spotter Big trends for 2016 What lies ahead for the future of business for agencies VR: How Virtual Reality can become important to agencies Data overload: what will happen when all the data available to different parties eventually gets pooled together? Understanding your clients’ true needs and becoming their true partner Architecting an Innovation Day to open up your clients’ wallets How to teach trend-creating thinking to employees coming out of college Rohit Bhargava is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author of five books on topics as wide ranging as [...]

By |May 23rd, 2016|
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